Thai (Lonely Planet Phrasebooks)
(4 customer reviews)
Thailand is the Land of Smiles. A grin shows companionship. A laugh shows forgiveness. But what if you need a second-class train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai? Keep smiling - this phrasebook will show you the way.
Our phrasebooks give you a comprehensive mix of practical and social words and phrases in more than 120 languages. Chat with the locals and discover their culture - a guaranteed way to enrich your travel experience.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #720844 in Books
- Brand: Brookstone
- Published on:
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 5.51" h x .51" w x 3.62" l, .28 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 260 pages
Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful.
Probably the best Thai phrasebook, but not without problems
By C. W. Hacker
I spent a good amount of time looking through various bookstores before I left for Thailand the first time, trying to decide among the various phrasebooks that are available. This one is perfectly sized, logically arranged (for the most part), and has a very good selection of phrases (for the most part).
The first time I went to Thailand, I was with a few other native English speakers. Among us, we had several different phrasebooks. I spent a little more time while there looking through the other phrasebooks (after experiencing Thailand for a few days) to see if maybe the others actually were better, because I wasn't getting anywhere with this one.
Well, the others aren't better. They consistently were missing key words or phrases that I needed. In general, this one will have what you need. Basically, I think this is the best Thai phrasebook available right now, and you should definitely get it if you're going there. It's very useful in many situations, and certainly worth a good rating. I'm going to focus on what I see as the negatives, but keep in mind that no matter how many negative things I say about it, these are all only worth taking one star off of my rating.
The biggest problem is strange choices on what to include and what not to include. Naturally, they can't include everything, but there are omissions in all sections of this book that seem strange to me. One example is in the section with phrases regarding occupations - it's designed so you can ask people about their occupation, and you can tell them yours. The problem is, they only give you a few things to choose from, and they're not broad - the options are civil servant, farmer, journalist, and teacher. Or, you can say you work in the fields of health, sales and marketing, or administration. Now, granted, you will find more options in the dictionary in the back, but that's a really rather bizarre selection, I think. I'm really not sure why they couldn't have included "student" in that list, for example - I'm guessing a significantly large percentage of people using this phrasebook as their only reference are going to be students. On the same page, they also give you how to say "What are you studying?" and "I'm studying..." (with only humanities, science, and Thai as the options...) but that, to me, doesn't seem like the right answer to the question "What is your occupation?"
What I'm trying to describe is a systemic problem in this book, which is worse in other Thai phrasebooks. They give you the tantalizing beginnings of phrases, which you can theoretically use to substitute in the right word... but they don't make it easy to find that word. Another quick example: they give you "I'm from..." with the options Australia, Canada, and Singapore. Yep, that sure covers a really wide range of places that a lot of people who visit Thailand are from. England and the US should have been on that list instead of Canada and Singapore (not to slight those countries...) - instead, those from two of the largest sources of Thai tourists will be flipping to the dictionary in the back.
Now, there are some neat phrases in here that you don't see in the other Thai phrasebooks (I mean mostly the fun stuff, not the basic practical stuff). The problem with these is that they're not basic phrases... if you say them to someone, they're going to reply with something that's probably complicated, and that doesn't really help you too much.
Now, a couple of other things that caused me problems. First, the transliteration scheme - it's pretty good (and a *lot* better than some I've seen) but not perfect, and it will take a lot of work to actually pronounce this stuff correctly. Even if you follow all of their directions, try your best with the tones, etc., chances are you will still be pronouncing things incorrectly. I won't claim this can't be my fault at all, of course - maybe I'm just bad at it - but after saying things I was sure were correct yet still having Thai people not understand, after pointing to it in the book (everything is, thankfully, written in Thai script as well) they would pronounce it the right way and it would be *totally* different. So different, that I have no idea how they came up with the transliteration. I can't think of any specific examples, but it was a very common problem for me.
Second, the dictionary in the back. This obviously can't include very much - it's a relatively small section in the back - but, again, it suffers from strange omissions and strange inclusions. The dictionary is not the purpose of the book, of course, so you can't expect it to be perfect. The Thai-English section is considerably smaller than the English-Thai section, and doesn't have a whole lot of useful stuff in it... a Thai friend had a lot of trouble trying to find words she wanted to use in here.
Third, the language as used here is not how most people speak, and in some cases not how it's written either. I do not know the language very well, but after a while I could tell there are some pretty basic mistakes here. Especially if you leave Bangkok (I was in Chiang Mai most of the time), phrases and words in here will be *completely* different from how most Thais talk.
Finally, the font used for Thai script. If you're not familiar with Thai script it probably looks perfectly normal, but it's actually kind of stylized. If you're trying to figure out specific characters from this book, sometimes you will have problems - there are some Thai characters that are very, very similar to each other, and the way they're represented in this book seems to make those small differences even smaller, rather than accentuating them and making them easy to see.
Ultimately, I'll add, about half of the book will probably be useless to you. These are phrases that require decent understanding of the language to use (and to subsequently understand the replies you'll get), and you won't get that understanding from this book. And then there's the section on "sustainable travel", and other stuff like that... worthless unless you can understand the language fairly well, or if the person you're talking to speaks some English (in which case you're probably not going to say much in Thai). That's beside the fact that "sustainable travel" and eco-friendly is a pretty foreign concept to most Thais, and they'll have no idea what you're talking about even if you *do* pronounce it correctly...
I recommend this for tourist travel, but if you become interested in any way with understanding the language better than just "getting by", you'll need something else almost immediately.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
lots of stuff in a little book.
By W. P. I. Watson
packed full of phrases and info. Pocket sized, easily accessible. Using it as a guide to study on skype with Thai speaking person.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
A gift that was very much appreciated
By Lin Holen
I bought this book as a present for a friend who frequently travel to Thailand. She absolutely loves this book, and says she has been trying to get something like this book for years